victorian gardens

Midland and northern industrialists and bankers in search of a new country estate to invest in could generally satisfy their quest within Cheshire or Worcestershire. As a result, the number of Victorian gardens in Gloucestershire is rather low although some are of breathtaking quality and importance.

Westonbirt’s private pleasure grounds (beyond the boundary of the more famous arboretum and now within the grounds of a girls’ school) and Cowley Manor, a hotel between Gloucester and Cheltenham, both contain extraordinary Italian Gardens. It seems they were laid out around the middle of the century; Westonbirt with its pavilions and ostentatious seats in the 1840s and Cowley Manor with a cascade fed by seven thundering water spouts in the 1860s.

An impressive legacy of Victorian trees connects Robert Holford’s planting in Westonbirt Arboretum with Lord Ducie’s collection at Tortworth Court and John Henry Elwes arboreal interests at Colesbourne. Between 1907 and 1913 he and Augustine Henry co-authored Trees of Great Britain and Ireland. And then there are examples of the Pulham families ingenious rock gardens at Highnam Court on the edge of Gloucester.